As per the centre for disease control, excessive consumption of alcohol is defined as more than two drinks a day (for men). Consumption of wine, hard liquor or beer is linked with retention of water. In a study performed in 2007, it was observed that alcohol consumption can lead to swollen face. The swelling of the face is attributed to skin changes and dermatological disorders, though not clearly defined.
Under normal conditions, anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), concentrates urine i.e. limits the excretion of fluid from the body. Excessive consumption of alcohol, interferes with ADH functioning. Alcohol restrains the release of the hormone, which results in loss of water in urine. However, sodium and other electrolytes continue to be retained by the body. Excessive loss of water leads to dehydration.
When the levels of alcohol drop, the action of ADH intensifies, and this leads to concentration of urine. Also, the concentration of sodium and other electrolytes is blood stream is higher than usual. Both these factors work in combination to result in retention of fluid in the body.
What Causes Puffy Face After Drinking Alcohol?
Occasional consumption of alcohol results in swollen face, which subsides within a couple of hours. However, long term consumption of alcohol leads to damage to internal organs. This damage tends to reduce the functionality of key organs and thereby lead to edema.
- Nephritis: Long term consumption of alcohol can damage kidney nephrons. Inflammation to the nephrons causes reduced efficiency of the kidney to filter blood and eliminate toxins. This reduced efficiency can lead to retention of toxins and fluids in the body. Additionally, this activates the rennin-angiotensin system, which alters the levels of Aldosterone. Aldosterone typically regulates the level of minerals and water in the body. Activation of the rennin angiotensin system leads to further increase in urine retention.
- Liver disease: The primary function of the liver is to detoxify the body. Heavy drinking can damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis. This damage to the liver causes the blood vessels to narrow and triggers portal hypertension. As a result of portal hypertension, the veins around the liver get enlarged and clogged. This in turn compresses on the surrounding tissues causing breathlessness and effusion. Eventually this condition may lead to ascitis and swollen face.
- Edema of Brain: Alcohol consumption can lead to cerebral edema, which is linked with neurological damage and loss of consciousness. While this is rare condition caused by over hydration of the brain, it can also manifest in the form of swollen face.
Natural Remedies For Swollen Face Due To Drinking
Here are some useful tips that can be very beneficial,
- Drink lots of water. Water helps flush out the toxins and traces of alcohol. Water also aids in lowering the sodium levels and thereby reduces swelling.
- Limit the intake of salt. Limit the consumption of processed foods as they can lead to water retention due to sodium.
- Dandelion roots and Kelp helps improve liver functions and restricts the damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Include vitamin K supplements in the diet, as they help regulate blood concentration and prevent abnormal clotting.
- Homeopathic drug namely Arsenic Alb is considered to be a powerful remedy to help in promoting elimination of fluids. Lycopodium is another drug that helps improve liver functions and hence deals with face edema.
Obviously, the best thing to do is to regulate the consumption of alcohol and avoid long term or sudden alcohol intoxication.